Employees: Your Role in Keeping Trade Secrets ‘Secret’

September 29, 2015
Categories: Intellectual Property, IP Protection, Trade Secret Theft

As an employee, do you know what you should be doing to protect your company’s critical business information and trade secrets? It’s likely that in your employment contract you agreed not to disclose confidential corporate information. But how does that translate into day-to-day practices?

As a starting point, it’s important to understand what constitutes a trade secret – for a quick primer, check out this ‘Beginner’s Guide to Trade Secrets’ blog.

Here are a few guidelines. If you have questions, you should check with your supervisor, legal and information technology (IT) departments as to specific protocols for your company.

  • Don’t give access to trade secrets or confidential information until access has been approved and a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is in place.
  • Keep trade secrets out of sight and away from others.
  • Encrypt emails with proprietary business information and send only if approved to share.
  • Never use personal email accounts to transfer confidential information.
  • Use password protection for confidential documents, folders and even screen savers.
  • Exercise vigilance to prevent unauthorized access to any electronic or physical areas containing confidential information.
  • Mark hard copies of information “confidential” or “proprietary.”

Additionally, it’s important to be very cautious when it comes to your computer – be careful when receiving emails as many have links that when clicked, will download malicious software onto your computer and into your corporate network. You should also avoid downloading software that isn’t licensed and should check with your information technology (IT) department for other precautions. offers two eLearning courses to help employees understand how to better protect corporate intellectual property and trade secrets. To learn more, visit our eLearning page or email:

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